017: Resolving Conflict Involving Sin

What You’ll Discover in this Episode:

Introduction to Conflicts of Sinfulness

We all deal with conflicts that arise because of sinfulness. In this episode, we are looking at the three passages of scripture that give us direct instruction on working through issues of sin. We will learn that our main objective in going to the person who has sinned is to bring correction and then restoration. We will also have a discussion on when sinful actions, attitudes, or words could be overlooked, or when sinful issues should be dealt with and addressed.

  • The basic objectives in dealing with sin: 1) Correction and 2) Restoration 
  • Correction: Bring about repentance and grant the sinning brother forgiveness.  
  • Restoration: The goal is to win your brother (restore him).
  • When a person chooses to overlook a transgression, they may be deciding to choose their battles wisely.
  • When a person hides from confrontation, they may be missing an opportunity for biblical reconciliation.
  • The Lord will reveal areas of sin through: someone else speaking,  devotional time, friendly conversation; often without a confrontational or counseling type setting.
  • Scroll down and leave your comment below!

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  • Tim Hoelle says:

    This topic is timely for me as the leadership in our work place is studying difficult conversations, and whether or not we enter into them and if we do, how well we handle them. The consensus is that most of the time we don’t handle them well. Some of the concepts are very similar, in part we’re encouraged to face the difficulty and not hide from it, and to approach any difficult conversation as an opportunity to build the relationship, not to admonish someone or see it as a battle.

    I value the comment that the goal is to win my brother, not necessarily to win the debate or argument. And I don’t think I can be reminded too many times to put on love, as referenced in I Peter 4:8 and Proverbs 10:12.

    Wisdom is exhibited when we overlook an offense, and our witness is strengthened – by the grace of God. I would do well to remember that I’m just as capable of sinning against someone as the next person and I would hope that they will grant me forgiveness if I seek it. If the tables are turned and I’m the one offended, I should be quick to reconcile with him or her if they show any signs of repentance. Proverbs 19:11 tells me “The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger, and his glory to overlook a transgression.”

    • Kristie says:

      That is such a great point, our witness is strengthened when we love by overlooking a offense. It so easy to confront someone when they have wronged them instead of forgiving them. I often think of that verse-Blessed are the merciful for they shall receive mercy. We are more apt to receive mercy from others when we extend mercy towards people.

      • Tim Hoelle says:

        There’s an old saying that tells us that if we’re hung up in our own troubles, volunteer at a homeless shelter or in a hospital. Soon most of us will see our issues really don’t compare. In the same way if we’re willing to be merciful and love people it’s likely we’ll see some of that blessing returning to us. Even if we dont’, it’s what we’re called to do.

    • Esther Ambie-Barango says:

      Great comment, especially in highlighting that the goal is particularly to win my brother, not necessarily to win the debate or argument. Having this as our individual and corporate goals will definitely change our motives and attitudes, remembering that we must slow to confrontation. However, if there’s harm happening to that person & other relationships in God’s name & God’s glory, that person should be & needs to be confronted & this must be done in love.
      Thanks Tim for your brilliant comment.

      • Tim Hoelle says:

        Thanks for your encouragement but brilliant is beyond my level I think – but whatever sense this makes you can credit the Father. Yes, I agree, staying focused on winning our brother can and will change our motives and attitudes. Well said.

    • Autumn Duncan says:

      I couldn’t agree with you more about valuing the person and not necessary winning the debate or argument. This is so important, and I believe goes against our fleshly nature but through the Holy Spirit, we can do anything. It’s important that we follow the example of the Holy Spirit as He is gentle with us, wanting us to learn about a sin or what we need to change in our life. I wish this was the way I learned how to handle conflict. I am grateful that with a patient husband and the Lord, I have learned how to handle conflict rather than not dealing with it.

      • Tim Hoelle says:

        No question it goes against our earthly nature and I’m one of those who wants to win! God is merciful and gives us many chances to learn and grow and gives us tools with which to work.

  • Esther Ambie-Barango says:

    This week’s Podcast clearly instructed us of the need to know where we are heading with the conflict & the two-way things we are heading into (correction of the sin & leading the person to repentance & then to restoration).
    Recall the Greek word, ‘noutheteó’, to admonish, leading us to ‘nouthetic counseling’. We like to describe ourselves as Biblical counseling with a gentle voice. We prefer admonishment with the voice of care, concern, gentleness & it’s always leading to restoration (restoring of right relationships with God & with people). We want to find out what’s going on in their hearts & where the sin is coming from & we then commit them to the Lord through prayers. We shall consider three main passages of Scriptures in this section.
    Matthew 18: 15-18 “Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. “But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector. “Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
    Luke 17: 3 “Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him.”
    Galatians 6:1 ” Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.”
    We must make sure we are not walking in hypocrisy & we must consider ourselves so that we can restore that one.
    Consider the two objectives; Correction & Restoration – such a variety in dealing with these two objectives but these are the goals bringing face to face, with the Scripture, with the sin, with the sinner, showing the Word of God; this what the Bible says.

    • Tim Hoelle says:

      I didn’t even know what Nouthetic counseling was until recently so I appreciate you making reference to that in your post. I use the term “admonish” quite a bit when teaching or discussing Scripture where that concept applies, but it’s important that I remember that even when Scripture calls us to admonish someone the primary intent (of ours) has to be to present it in love and with the goal of restoration. How the other party reacts to that effort dictates our response to a great degree, but I appreciate the podcast reminder and encouragement to focus on restoration

  • Tom Zimbelman says:

    Dealing with conflict that results from sin is difficult, but as the podcast explains there are biblical ways to deal with sin and to resolve the tensions that arise in relationships.

    Some things that stood out to me in this podcast:

    1. Biblically, reconciliation and restoration is the goal of confronting sin in one’s life. That means we admonish with care, have concern with a spirit of gentleness to restore a right relationship with God and with people.

    2. First, though, even before the confrontation of the sin, we need to check our hearts AND our lifestyles. Are we committing the same sin? Are we ignoring the plank in our eye while pointing out the speck in others? This is a command and also helps us develop a humble heart and attitude.

    3. When confession and repentance is made once we confront and a person asks for forgiveness we need to forgive fully quickly.

    Luke 17 – take heed, if a brother sins, rebuke him and if he repents forgive him.

    4. People NEED to know they’ve sinned – we are loving when we tell people about their sin with the goal of bringing that sin to an end.

    • Kristie says:

      It is so important to look at the sin and to look at the motive of our own hearts before confronting someone. The Bible says to remove the plank from our own eye before removing the speck from someone else’s eye. We need to pray and seek the Lord and examine ourselves before taking that step.

  • I am so glad to hear the wisdom from Pastor Jeff and his wife about prayerfully discerning which sins people commit against us ought to be confronted and which can be overlooked in love. The truth is that too many people “sweep it under the rug” in the name of gentleness or love. Unfortunately, they do this to avoid conflict instead of to love one another. Scripture teaches that we should let love “cover a multitude of sins” and that we are to “rebuke” our brothers.
    The issue comes when believers don’t understand how to discern which sins to address and which to overlook in love. Well, Pastor Jeff had a great answer to this question. He said that we should “come to confrontation with the goal of forgiveness.” If we can test our own hearts about what our motive is in confronting someone’s sin then we will be much more likely to only address what is needed and to overlook sins that the Lord will deal with in His timing. If we aren’t looking to offer forgiveness then we will most likely be trying to get revenge on the offender or overlook it because we are trying to avoid it.

  • Ron Dozler says:

    The Pharisees were always looking for sin and failing in others, rather than to examine their own sinful hearts. Jesus said, we all need to consider ourselves, to take the plank out of our own eyes, than we will be able to see clearly and make good observations. As those helping others with sin and other issues, we really do need to heed the words of Christ. Making sure that we are able to counsel people with gentleness and God’s Word. Always quick to hear someone asking for forgiveness and ourselves quick to ask for forgiveness when fall short, all with goal of restoration.

    • Jerry Troyer says:

      Thank you Ron for your wise words. I can easily be looking for the sins of others, even with very large planks in my eyes. Counseling people with gentleness and compassion and through use of Scripture can be such a marvelous, God honoring way to discuss sin or sins. Especially with those who come to counseling because they are weak and need help and hope. As I am human and a sinner, I must remember the practice of seeking forgiveness of my sins, in humility, each and every day.

    • I really appreciate what Pastor Jeff said about being quick to forgive and quick to ask for forgiveness. Just as you said, if we are always looking for other peoples sins we end up more like the Pharisees than our Lord Jesus. Quick to forgive and quick to ask for forgiveness is the recipe for good relationships in general. This is helpful for a marriage, for siblings, for parents and children, for church family, for ministry partners, and for every relationship. It takes away the edge and tension and allows for people to continually show grace to one another and receive grace from one another.

    • David Bowman says:

      Ron, you are right. Too often Christians shoot their own wounded. When a fellow brother or sister is caught in sin, how often do we consider their need for restoration after their public disgrace? We should be sensitive and merciful considering the fact that we are still contending with our own sin everyday. Jesus’ handling of the woman at the well and with the woman caught in adultery are great reminders of how we ought to treat sin and sinners.

      • Hannah Somerville says:

        I completely agree. I must admit I fall short in this area. We should be looking to restore a brother or sister when they have fallen into sin, but instead often we sit there judging and being in an attitude of disgust. We often look down as if we are better. Truth is , just like you said, our sin is just as vile. Sure maybe our sin doesn’t always show itself in the public eye, but if we looked at our own selves in the light of God’s holiness, we would see that we have absolutely no right to not have grace and mercy on a stumbling family member in Christ.

    • Rebecca Harden says:

      It is so easy to look for faults in others, so often there are things right in front of us that we just want to judge and comment on so badly, but God wants us to take a step back and view these things through His eyes of grace. He wants us to remember that we are all faulty. We need to be able to come to people when there really are problems and love them and show them through the Word of God how things need to change. Not because we see a problem, but because God says it is a problem.

  • Kristie says:

    This podcast is so good to help us to understand how the Lord speaks to people about their sin. We don’t want to be the people looking under rocks to look for other people’s sins. That is legalism. We want to be known by our love towards others. Be slow to confront others about their sin. We can gently ask questions to bring to mind to help people see the sin in their own life. As mature believers we are able to confront sin, but we need the Lord to lead us and the person into the truth of what is going on in their life. We cannot be someone else’s Holy Spirit. The goodness of the Lord brings someone to repentance. God speaks to us through His word as we study and during bible study. The Lord may speak to us and we ignore Him before someone is sent to address the issues in our life. As the Word of God is taught verse by verse, chapter by chapter it gives the Lord opportunity to speak to people as the Word is taught. My husband is a Pastor and it is so amazing to hear how many people ask him if he has a video camera in their house. It is because the Holy Spirit knows what is going on in a person’s life and is so loving to speak to them through the teaching of God’s word at church.

    • Tim Hoelle says:

      Your comment “we cannot be someone else’s Holy Spirit” brought a smile to my face as it resonates with me. Early in our marriage I made several comments to my wife about the same issue, and apparently each comment was a little more pointed. Finally during the “next” discussion she told me, clearly and with passion, that I was NOT her Holy Spirit! That got my attention. We joke about it now, but it was a lesson I needed to learn. Because of my experience I see and hear from others how they are trying to be someone else’s Holy Spirit, and absent from that, usually, is love and support and the effort toward restoration. Thanks for the reminder!

      • Jerry Troyer says:

        Tim, thank you for your transparency and honesty. I have to a certain degree been accused of the same. But it was you are not “Jesus to me”. I was a small group leader. A young couple in attendance had a penchant for lying. It was apparent to all in the group. When I met with them about it. They were angered beyond angry. Saying I had no right to judge them. While I explained I wasn’t judging, just asking for them to draw closer to Jesus and live more like him. They were quick to point my humanity and sinful nature. The husband was in seminary to become a pastor. We never really resolved that issue. Our relationship suffered and they no longer considered me a spiritual father. This podcast was an excellent reminder to me of how to address those matters in a different “prayed over” manner with greater humility.

        • Ron Dozler says:

          Jerry, I too have found that when confronting people who do not want to change or are so deceived that they cannot see their sin, rather than saying, wow, thank you brother for pointing that out, they pull the only verse that the entire world knows by heart. Cant’t judge me brother. They fail to understand we are just trying to, like you said, help them grow away from sin and to Jesus.

        • Tim Hoelle says:

          It’s always a delicate balance, and I’ve made mistakes in the past trying to present the appropriate Scriptural concept, encouraging someone or trying to get them to see the truth. Even at that, it’s still hurtful when the person you’re trying to talk to is offended for the wrong reasons! In spite of all of that, we’re still called to confront in love and I agree, in any matter we need to be praying over it with purpose and passion.

    • Hannah SOMERVILLE says:

      Great insight Kristie!
      I also was touched by that reminder and want to adhere to it more. That our primary disposition should be toward loving one another rather than looking under erery rock ready to call people out on their sin.

      Asking questions and allowing people to see or come to a conclusion about theirs situation can really help others come to self relfective realizations. I want to remember to do that more.

      Thank you for sharing. It’s so true, the Holy Spirit gives us insight that seems to be prophetic at times. Thankful to hear you and your husband are obedient in being his instrument. It is amazing and clear when he does that. Many of us need to be called out like that at times.

    • Hey Kristie,
      I have had the same blessed experience when I teach from the Word. People will often be so convicted by the Spirit that they wonder if I planned the message to be just for them. But, obviously it’s the work of God in their lives. It’s such a blessing when the Lord speaks through the Word, the teaching, or through other means so that a troubled Christian will see their sin and turn from it. Many times when we take the time to pray for these individuals, wondering how we might address their sins, the Lord uses that to handle it all on His own. It leaves us simply blessed to know we were a part of the process without having to confront them personally, which can be scary for some of us.

    • Ron Dozler says:

      As a Pastor too, I love when people ask me if their spouse called me last week to share all of their problems. If we just let the Word of God do the work and let the Holy Spirit do the convicting, our roles as counselors would get a bit easier. All we would need to do then is just guide them and love them back into fellowship with others and the Lord.

    • Autumn Duncan says:

      I agree that the podcast was insightful about how the Lord speaks to us about our sin. I know through my classes; things have been revealed to me that I was unaware of and have since repented. The gentleness He shows us is a powerful example for us when counseling others or confronting a family member or friend. It’s amazing how the Holy Spirit speaks to us differently and His guidance is wonderful even though painful at times.

    • David Bowman says:

      Kristie, I echo your sentiments as an assisting pastor. Many times I have come face to face with my own sinfulness in the study and preparation of the Scriptures. The Lord is so gentle and kind to us. It reminds me of the 400 years He gave the pre-flood inhabitants to repent as well as the ten plagues that pointed to the superiority of God over the Egyptian deities. God graciously gives us time to repent and we should be gentle to those that are in sin, lest we become victims of the same temptations.

  • Jerry Troyer says:

    Thankful for this podcast as it brings to light sin as sin. In church we are at times too overly delicate or evasive about sin. Sometimes hoping the sin in church attenders will just go away or they will overcome it, or God will move in them without having to confront them with it. I must say there are times that people were offended when I brought sin to their attention. Even though I began the conversation with humility of my sin and God’s redemption. Relationships were strained and I can think of one that was broken. I will never forget how as a 6th grade student our Sunday School teacher taught us about the evils and sin of smoking. As he removed his sports coat during the class, he inadvertently unveiled to us a pack of cigarettes in his shirt pocket. Just an example of how easy it is to lead a Sunday life and other six days life of different orientation. It left an impression though. None of us asked him about it. Also, Pastor Jeff and Jenny pointed us to Titus 1 and that conviction can come from the pulpit. Pastor’s pulpit counsel should be conviction and pondering to those who are hearing. A conviction of sin, with God’s repentance opportunity set before the hearers of the church.

  • Hannah SOMERVILLE says:

    I thought it was interesting right in the beginning of the podcast, the mention of the difference between noticing various personalities versus sinful characteristics, motives and actions. I have been running into this a lot. Often feeling tension in relation to people who think or act differently than me. Mostly confident decision makers is what I have difficulty with. This has been to me a refreshment in realizing that is actually a great quality to be decisive, yet if it manifests itself in a bulldozing and non-humble, way this may need to be addressed. Hence, It is beneficial to be able to determine what is actually wrong vs. what is just something to learn to work with.

    Jenny and Jeff also mentioned that the ultimate goal is to restore. The goal is not just to call out or correct, though that may be necessary. We should have in mind the individual’s walk with the lord and others.

    I also loved the reminder that God in his Mercy takes care of many sins and errors in his children. Whether through a church service or personal bible study. We can have patience and pray for discernment in where to step in, in a brother or sister’s life. A great podcast. Very helpful! Thank you.

    • Esther Ambie-Barango says:

      Thanks Hannah for such a unique comment, particularly with respect to the difference between noticing various personalities versus sinful characteristics, motives and actions. I also was impacted by this aspect of the Podcast as I need to grow and develop better in ministry and Biblical counseling. Pastor & Pastor (Mrs.) Jeff & Jenny Christianson explicitly explained that differentness is more of different personalities, different backgrounds, annoyances, irritations that are not sinful in nature but just that one person is different from another. We must be sensitive by the power of the Holy Spirit to know areas of sinfulness, where there’s actual sin involved (sinful words, sinful actions, sinful attitudes (thoughts, motives, etc.), etc.), as the Scripture defines sin. Sometimes what we find; though is conflict that could be at a low level, escalates to sinfulness & sinful behavior.
      Thanks for your brilliant comment.

    • Rebecca Harden says:

      I feel like that is something I have been running into a lot also. We are created with these unique qualities that can be turned into weapons almost if they are not used for God’s glory. So it is important to be able to see when something is wrong or just hard to work with because it is different than what we are used to. Thanks for pointing this out in your comment, I really liked being reminded of that.

  • Autumn Duncan says:

    Conflict can be uncomfortable and walking in the spirit will be the key to working through a challenging time in counseling others or handling a conflict in our own lives. I appreciate listening to these wise words. As Jenny mentioned having mercy and love over the situation is important. This is sometimes what is missing during a correction or a difficult conversation. As mentioned, having discernment depending on if it’s a child, church leader or a friend is important. (Colossians 1:28) Walking with Holy Spirit and praying with the person will guide the conversation and be able to have a better outcome than if done by our own guidance.

    I really appreciate the emphasis being on restoration with the Lord and anyone who is involved. This seems to be an essential piece that is missing when working through conflicts in many situations or relationships. As Pastor Jeff and Jenny mentioned, preserving the relationship is important and having restoration. I couldn’t agree more and I appreciate being reminded of this. Thank you again for another great message!

  • Rebecca Harden says:

    When approaching confrontation that deals with sin, it was said that the goals are to show correction and restoration. I loved when it was said that we are also to come to confrontation with the goal of forgiveness. God is the ultimate judge, and we have to remember that through His guidance of the Holy Spirit, we are merely tools to show His love and mercy. It was said that each situation needs to be handled differently, since every situation deals with different people, in different stages of life and spiritual maturity. We want to be led with the Spirit’s discernment, we want to speak out of love, and ultimately we want whoever has sinned to see what the Bible says about those sins. But, with that being said, we need to remember that not all sin needs to be addressed. Again, this is where discernment comes in. The Bible tells us that some things are just to be overlooked, and we are called to bare with others. Ultimately, we are called to deal with sin, and we need to be in the Word so that we know how to do this.

  • David Bowman says:

    This was another great podcast episode on a topic that is quite precarious to address. In biblical counseling, conflict arises because of sin. Contrary to popular opinion, Christians are forgiven sinners, which means that we still have the capacity to sin and therefore conflict can occur. I appreciate the discussion about overlooking sin versus confronting sin. Psalm 19:11 was very helpful, “The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger, And his glory is to overlook a transgression.” We ought to overlook peripheral sins and focus on the major sin in question. All of this should be done with the goal of restoration. Correction, then repentance and finally restoration is the proposed order of operations. I am grateful that God’s love covers a multitude of my sins and pray that I can exercise gentleness as I counsel people and confront sin.

  • Victoria Santana says:

    I love how this podcast stresses and focuses much of its time on how we are not just called to confront and correct sinful nature but how we are to filter it through the lens of God thoroughly before confronting anyone because God also calls us to overlook transgressions when possible. Before, I believed it was my place as a Christian to point out the sin in others when I saw it. I believed it was part of my mission to “help” them see the error of their ways. Oh how foolish I was!! I now see and understand that when God speaks of us overlooking transgressions and how love covers a multitude of sin he not only means in me but he also means for is to do this for our fellow Christians. We need to be slow to confront someone unless there is specific harm happening to them or someone around them. And even then our goal is not just for correction but must also be for restoration of them with God and with others around them. Correction also must be led by the Holy Spirit because without the Holy Spirit it is a witch hunt. It also must be led by a genuine love and concern for the people or person involved. Just as God calls us to love others as he loves us, he calls us to correct and restore others as he does for us.

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